Worth the Quarantine
Went to Montana to visit my friend from PA for a week. Fished every day for 5 days. Ate turkey/ provolone sandwiches, salt and vinegar chips, airplane left-over snacks, one fancy meal, two pizzas, and bagels. Oh, lots of beer. I picked out the cans that had trout on them. Drank lots of water,
The morning routine- coffee/bagel breakfast, make sandwiches- pigtail foil wrap for her, flat wrap for me, pack chips, change the yeti ice, re-fill water cooler, and dont’ forget the reels. Feed the Poe, and go.
River Between Two Lakes
Never thought I would fish on day one- in your face jet lag! Wanted to have a traditional River name, but it is known as the River between two lakes. On August 17, 1959 an earthquake in the Madison Canyon River Area, near West Yellowstone, formed Quake Lake. The earthquake created a massive landslide of about 80 million tons of rock, which stopped the flow of the Madison River in the Madison River Canyon gorge. It created Quake Lake -so the Madison flows off into this River between two lakes now. Wading off sides and off gravel bars. Heard of cut bank hideouts? When you hook a trout and he takes off, dives under the cut banks- poke em out with your net! Its a 6 foot hideaway in some spots. Got the Montana Tourism snap with one really pretty rainbow. It was a Wade river. Need new wade socks- and/or gravel guards. I didn’t like rocks and pebbles under my feet. Got the 911 on Rattlesnakes and bear spray. The wading stick helped not just for wading but for poking in the tall grass- those cut banks are really great hiding spots. Started my tight lining week, just like a Pro from Penns Creek. Montana has big sky, big eagles, big fish- its a great big state for big fun.
Discovered Poe- famous net carrying human dog
It’s a gem. Really. The garnets originated from schists exposed in the Greenhorn Mountains, which are located east of the Ruby River. The creeks flowing west from this mountain range transported the garnets into the Ruby River drainage and deposited them in high terraces that now form the banks of the reservoir. You can still dig for garnets on riverside! Or, you can focus on fishing. Revenge was required after I lost some great fish. Caught others. Wore waders, carried bear spray and watched for rattlesnakes sunning on rocks or in the tall grass slithering around.
Why use water balloons on the river? I learned that balloons are lighter, which allows them to move around more easily within the water. They are also more supple, which allows you to easily identify whether your flies are running along the river bottom or being nibbled on by an unwary fish. And, they are biodegradable in case your fly pops it. Pros- water balloons
sit high atop the water, very sensitive to the subtlest of movement, easy to see, inexpensive, helps identify when a true drift is achieved. Cons- Can be popped, doesn’t cast as well in the wind, slightly more difficult to move on the leader when adjusting for depth, takes time to prepare your indicator.
Split back sulphur nymphs- works great as a pale morning dun or sulphur dun emerger- size 16-18-20. Used big on bottom and small on top with LOTS of split shot. If your drop shot didn’t fit around your wrist it wasn’t enough. So now I own a split shot bracelet!
Got them. And had a ladies on the water day with dinner at Ennis. But not before meeting up with all the guides from Penns Creek! Boone Beach was the first site to meet up with guide celebrities. As the fishing continued we were throwing nets all over the place. These fish were so big you needed two people to get it done. We had one long handled net that seemed to always be dipping in the Ruby looking for that brown.
Happy. Content. Candid. Love having a gang of strong smart angling ladies to fish with all day. Had a tarpon on mid-day, forgot to turn my hips and lead her away from the fast current. Snap. At day end, I was told we needed to get one more 20 in the net. I was so surprised when the last few casts did the trick.
25 Miles of fishy waters along a narrow forest service road. I didn’t like looking over the right hand side. Heard it holds big fish but never saw big fish. Super scenic drive- Mines, horses, mountains. This is a return trip for sure, with the magic crystal ball to make the rod bend some more.
Weather was crazy different. From cool in the AM, to hot at noon time, to needing a rain jacket, and then back to hot. Dressed for a snow day in the AM, then peeled off the layers for a full day floating. Past cows, eagles, osprey, trains- in at 8 out at 4. Highlight was the cut-bow and second highlight was this amazing bucket of cutthroat trout that just hung out right on the riverside. Love having a guide who knows when to drop the anchor. River beers and Guide beers. Finally a 905 with hoppers.
Brought in the fly craft. Super light boat. Found the birds, found the Yellowstone Cut Throats. 6500 feet high. Picnic with a table chairs hammocks and a Mom and a Dad. Loud music from another gang that preferred it over the birds and silence. And again a 905, with classic black woolies. Just like home.
Next summer in Montana I will bring:
- TNT 11’3” Contact Rod
- Patagonia Puff jacket
- Simms wade/gravel socks
- Simms Sun Gloves
- Water Balloons
- Hans Line
- That really good floatant (not flyagra this trip)
- A dog like Poe
- No LBD